LETTER: Can anyone give me advice on steel?

A reader discusses stainless steel.

Stainless steel.
Stainless steel.

For about the first 10 years of my working life, I worked selling stainless steel. Everyone buys cutlery made in stainless steel, expecting it to be just that, but unfortunately sometimes it isn’t. Early on in my working life at a stockholders, a guy came into the office and asked if we could supply him with a short piece of stainless steel bar to make a new prop shaft for his model boat. Being naive, I did not ask him where he intended to sail this boat, and he was given a foot long piece of 1/2 inch diameter EN59J.

He went away happy, but came back later, the stainless steel had gone rusty. If my memory serves me well, he had been sailing his boat in the wrong type of water. The piece of steel that he was given was suitable for salt water, but not the clearer water of ponds and canals.

This brings me to my present problem, and I would like advice please. All of our cutlery is stainless steel, but a dozen of the teaspoons were purchased some years ago.

We have a small dish in which we put the tea bags before disposing of them. Obviously, we allow a few bags to build up, and if we are using one of the dozen spoons, and leave them for a while before disposal, they become discoloured. Why? None of our other teaspoons are affected this way.

Peter Cole, Kingswinford

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